Archive for June, 2014

Akephaloi

I
We have no head
But still we speak
With tongues of fire

With blood and scale
And feather and iron
We swim upstream

Seeking sweet sources
Of honey and ash,
The golden liquor brewed

In the marrow of our bones
Gleaming in the dark soil of Night
There lies a mirror that smokes – full of burning Images.

Walking backward,
Crossing coursing waters
Amidst the locust’s hum

We have no head
And the Black Dogs feast
Upright and holy

While we drink wine
Alone –
A banquet of scraps and fragments

Bricolage fills our bellies
Brews our heady venom,
Sharpens the serpent’s fang.

Patchwork liars with our coats
Of many colours
We clamber up from the Pit

To see the driest deserts bloom
To drown the world in Living Water
Sailing apocalyptic seas

II

Be no more hungry
For the famine of the Soul
Is cured by dry bones and breath

The very flesh of it is found!
Observe the vulture spiral high
And learn why the raven ne’er returned to Noah!

We have no head – it tumbles beyond the firmament
Bound by the Beloved’s favour
Eternally invigorated by endless kisses

Long have we sought the company
Of lions and asses both
To bring forth both strength and sweetness.

Our pride dwells
In verdant realms
Where men see only dust

Our loves
Lie lit
By hidden sun

Gloriously fierce and golden
Savage in their gentleness
Naked in deathly innocence

We who would know all –
Who honour and who are
Machines of endless desiring

(For yes
We too were Made
For Making)

We raise our voices
In ruined temples
To shake the Pillars of Creation

Behold the seven veils of the Kosmos
Now cast aside –
Queen of Heaven all unveiled.

How the dance ensnares us!
Yet All is revealed before us
In the Courts of Death

Down!
Down!
Thrice down!

This our baptism
Of fire and ice
Of rime and blood

Will you take salt with us?
We, the nomads of desert and steppe?
We, the brotherhood of the raven robe and sable tent?

Will you ride across the sky?
Will you wander the corpse paths?
Will you drink from the cup of the skull?

Be welcome
Old friend
For we shall greet you kindly!

Nobody said.

Nobody said
That it would be easy to know
The texture of the kosmos down to its finest grain.

Nobody said it would be gentle
Or that you would be free
That you would slip your chains with ease,

With bloodless evasion.
Down in the dark
Where the walls are made of iron

Your cell may echo with howls of despair
As you unleash secrets from forked tongue
All snake-bite, venom and becoming.

The prison will not yield –
Pray then, heart enflamed;
Make a holocaust that burns out the eyes of angels.

You, oh creature, are why
They cover their eyes with wings.
You steal their tongues, oh thief of swords!

Cleave to your heart, cleave it in two!
Bleed bright, aye!
Bleed true!

Shining primordial one,
Raise your hoary head
Grin wide with death’s benediction upon your brow.

Smith you be
Dactyl
Of word and song

Sorrower
Sufferer
Screamer

Harrier
Howler
Goes

Alone amongst the living
Drowned one, thrice bound
Immersed in cold waters at the bottom of the well

You, oh nobly born
Recall the songs
Of the vital dead – you hear their voices raised!
The rivers and springs
Mares and meres
Of the soul

Are yours to drink.
As the ancestral salt rusts iron
And turns it to living blood once more

I posted a link on Tumblr, in which it seems neuro-scientists are finding non-directed meditation may be more effective than that which focusses on a single thought or concept or image.

This one

The wonderful thing about that kind of meditation is that once you make time for it, there is no need to do anything, any more than there is anything to do while watching a river flow and hearing the birds chirp and then the noise of the water suddenly fades as the breeze stirs trees.

The river still continues. It does not crave your attention or your inattention. You willl notice it or you will not. To quote Austin Osman Spare “Does not matter, need not be.”

Similarly – stealing from teratocybernetics – you may begin to understand that though your mind may be a bag of cats, tussling and growling and hissing and clawing for dominance, you are only seeing part of the cats. In all their chaos, can you honestly say that you are seeing any more than flashes of teeth and claws and tails?

There are many whole, complete cats in that bag, and yet it is downright impossible for us to see them in all their furry feline glory.  While our attention is on one, the others still proceeed to what they do. So why worry? After all, if we just allow ourselves to know there are many things happening all at once which we cannot control, let alone perceive.

And while we are busy with the cats in the bag, what is our body doing? The rising and falling of our bellies and chests occurs with or without us. The digestion of our food, the billions of bacteria busily beavering away in our guts, the feel of fabric on skin.

All these things occur without ‘our’ notice. And yet they are more intimate than any other personal relationship. The wonderful thing about this kind of meditation is the realisation that Being and Doing are entirely different.

We are taught by our culture to be, to have an effect, we must do. But look at the rest of the natural world, which we are undoubtedly part of, despite centuries of denial, and you will find that Doing proceeds from Being, and not the other way around.

This kind of meditation is giving you a chance to re-experience Being without the false necessity of Doing.

As Spare also said “Live like a tree walking.”

Soon enough, and with remarkable ease, you’ll begin to learn how Doing happens without even trying, because you are allowing yourself Being, without restraint.

hammer_and_cross

When last we left my reflections on David Beth’s essay introducing Craig Williams Cave of the Numinous we had begun to touch on what is referred to as ‘night-consciousness’. Feel free to re-read Part 1 to refresh your memory, because I think this is vitally important – we’ve discussed the logocentric concept of spirit, and the tension betwixt it and the soul. We’ve seen how the quintessential ‘I’-ness of Ego has its interplay with the acquistiveness and self-referential nature of the monoculture which attempts to conquer and subvert all others into itself.

Rather than recognizing and realizing the immediacy and non-deducibility of the thoroughly sacred and enthusing World-All (Welt-All), man, under the yoke of the spirit now tries to deduce the phenomena of the world from one cause.” – David Beth, Supreme Katabasis: Kaivalya and the Kosmic Gnosis

It’s interesting to me that Welt-All is used as a descriptor. Long before I had  encountered the Kosmic Gnosis, I called the dynamic beingness of the world, the All-at-Once. It was the only way I could express the multi-directional nature of the raw experience, the  awe-inspiring interdependency of origination. One could not, I realised, divide a leaf from a tree, a hand from an arm; the sheer breadth of contact between all things required no lines of thought connecting points together for causation, but whole inhabitable realms and planes of in-betweens and throughouts. As an analogy, each atom is mostly combosed of space, a fuzzy might-be-ness that belies analytical notions of fixedness and solidity. To be able to immerse onself in that flux hiding within notions of form would be to participate  in “the holistic visionary experience of the living daemonic souls/images.”  This to me is the “World of Essences, of ever-changing and unique ensouled images (which communicate themselves to the soul)” as David puts it.

The sheer onrush of existence has not only been denied us, whe have been taught to fear the unmooring from restraint that it brings. Our senses are contoured and bound into reflexive action and response – the biological feed-back loops and responses have been sealed away from our awareness by carefully crafted epistemolgies designed to preserve the status quo – stillness, stasis, quietude and passivity have been cast like a cloak over the raw flux of Life. In curtaining away the animating axiomata, the manifold streams that feed  into the soul  which we call the Life Principle, a fear of death this been engendered.  This fear echoes forth into all attempts to apprehend meaning – we grasp it in a death-grip so as not to be lost in the onslaught of nihilism. The  acquistiveness of the ego becomes the terror of loss, of nothingness.

We fear blindness, absence, disability, impairment. We fear that which we believe may be taken from us, mistakenly believing that anything can be granted to us in the first place. As if we believe, deep down beyond all conception, that some vast Absolute must be appeased in order for us to  continue. As if we have completed all the metamorphoses we shall ever undergo and are now inviolate, pinnacles of creation. Is this not ego mirrored again?


“What is great in man is that he is a bridge and not an end: what can be loved in man is that he is an overture and a going under...” – Nietzsche

It is this in-betweeness, the intermediary state, which spirit denies us – neither one thing nor the other, but always Ourselves. In this, the distinction between the aloneness of the Kosmic Gnostic and the inflation of the egoic-I-ness found in modern conceptions of the individual is made quite clear. Within the realms of existence, we are estranged from the default, instead seeking a methodical subversion of those habituated and habilitated calls-and-responses in the echo chamber of the Kali Yuga.

Kaivalya in our system encompases both ‘isolation’ and ‘alienation’. Rather than signifying any kind of metaphysical escapism, the kosmic ‘isolation’ implies a supreme distinction and awakening: The kosmic isolation is the distinction of the soul from the spirit.” David Beth, Ibid

Such a distinction requires rigorous work – our actions, thoughts and responses must be examined repeatedly throughout our travels on the path, not for moral or ethical purposes, but for those of evaluation. This does not mean that this evaluation prices a certain kind of behaviour or process over another; to do so would be antithetical to the necessities behind such observations. Perhaps for this reason, as Craig mentions in the Cave of the Numinous,  the ‘shutting up of the senses’ can be key.

This hermetic hermitage of the senses is a systematic process of creating a kind of metaphorical ‘clean room’ in which the mindstream may be observed without judgement, allowing one to purge the secondhand ersatz images of perception. Once these have been allowed to dissolve, the practitioner will often find primordial insights arising independently. With practice and refinement, these insights may be used to further them in their gnostic coup d’etat:

“The grand awakening  of the soul and the successful gnostic coup d’etat against the tyranny of the spirit grant the sorcerer the crucial continuity  and stability for his explorations of both the inner and outer realms and protects him from losing his way in the very dangerous maze of the occult labyrinth.”

Here perhaps we should mention the fact that night-conscousness, full of its ensouled images, can be a subtly seductive and dangerous state. Suddenly opened the the fury of the elemental essences which are revealed and mirrored in the coming-together of soul, one inhabits a fierce realm, full the the brim with living entities. No more do the rules of civilisation apply – the supremacy of the individual so extolled by a world so rooted in dayside consciousness means little here.  It is easy to be overwhelmed, stunned by the terrible immensity of the vital kosmos, and the protections so beloved by modernity hold little sway. Ego inflation, parasitisation and delusion are all possibilities for those who do not have the wherewithal to undergo the necessary reconfigurations of their notions of themselves.

For this reason it is important that one have proper structure and forms of transmission and empowerment awoken in oneself by a qualified teacher who recognises the unique make up of the student and has the proper authority to order and arrange things correctly so that the student may achieve maximal protection and effectiveness. This is the root of all true traditions, rather than blind mimesis  and cargo-cultery. Through work, proper intiations and revelation of certain symbols and rituals inextricably linked with primordial images, one achieves a level of kaivalya that renders them  sui-generis.

“Totally alienated not from his body, his soul or the the soul(s) of other(s) but from the clutches of the enslaving spirit, the gnostic Sorcerer becomes completely differentiated as a particular and non-repeatable being.”

In this we thus find that individuality as the ego would have it is akin to severing one’s limbs and expecting the body to function – there is a reason that certain shamanic practices involve dismemberment and reconstruction by spirits into a primordial form. Instead, sorcerer acknowledges and works with the ancestral primordial paths of their own embodied irruption of the kosmos, serving as a transmission station in ways that are currently beyond the scope of this piece.  The multiplicity involved in these practices does not in fact destroy the ego, but places it in its proper context of the realised wholism.

No longer does it seek to be supreme, but instead  to serve the creative and magical impulses of the soul. The bond between spirit, soul and body becomes like unto a blood-brotherhood as the seemingly separate  is brought together and infused with the bloodglow which lights the way and serves as beacon to all other kindred throughout space and time. In this way the sorcerer becomes the vanguard of a horde of holy powers – the spear that opens and the cup that overflows and causes the blood to well forth, sanctifying all actions.

The katabasis into the primordial arche through magical realization and recollection produces the radiation of the mysterious blood-lamp. The magical glow generated by the inner and outer kosmic soul substance within the blood and the sexual fluids of the adepts of the eternal flame which never extinguishes or exhausts and which is a symbol of the Open Life: The Dead manifesting within the Living, the Past in the Present, Eternal Becoming.”

This then is the action of the kosmogonic eros – the constant erotic coming together of polar souls,  the “passive and pathic soul of the initiate with the active, inseminating soul of the daemonic opposite.” The Kosmic Gnostic perceives and experiences the kosmos not as a simple abstract principle, but as a lover, with all that creativity, inventiveness and mystery that such a thing as that entails. This why we rebel against transcendence, for we would spend countless existences entwined with that which Loves and is Loving.

This is why we plunge into night-consciousness, beginning the merciless path with recognition of our total weakness in the face  of something unutterably vast and ancient that it could annhilate us without a thought. In this we surrender and devote ourselves to the myriad congeries and configurations and contacts of soul.

Many thanks for reading, friends. I hope my small reflections have been enjoyable.

Be seeing you.

 

Living after the Lightning Strike

Exalting the soul over the spirit, the pandaemonium of Life over escapist transcendence, this counter-tradition is known as Kosmic Gnosis. The wayfarers on this esoteric path quest for a unique form of liberation and distinction: Kaivalya.” – David Beth, Supreme Katabasis: Kaivalya and the Kosmic Gnosis

After returninq home from family based road-trip that took in Cornwall, Bristol, Somerset, the New Forest, and Sussex, I found Theion Publishing’s latest offering – Craig Williams’ Cave of the Numinous: Tantric Physics vol I. As always, it’s a thought-provoking tome thoroughly grounded in Craig’s esoteric background which leads you through a deeply interesting take on a particular strand of philosophical and magical praxis. But this isn’t a book review – I’m by no means qualified enough to engage on matters of Eastern philosophy.

Instead I’m focusing on the essay which leads into the text – written by David Beth and serving as grounding for Craig’s book; an elucidation of the current known as Kosmic Gnosis. I’m aiming to do this as a multipart piece, for though the essay is just 5 pages in length, there is a great deal to cover.

First, as the essay makes clear, the Kosmic Gnostic recognises the primacy of the soul, both of the individual and the ensouled kosmos at large. The interelation between the two is the basis of a vitalist symbiosis which is in direct opposition to the divisive rationalism of the spirit. In acknowledging the Aristotelian division of mankind’s substance, we find body, psyche and nous as useful jumping off points to explain things further.

Within Aristotle’s framework, the psyche is the substance which contributes to the inner life, while the nous is that intellectual and rationalising principle which brings about reckoning and discretion. It apparently necessarily reduces the continuum of experience and existence, the onrush of Beingh, into discreet moments – identifiable by their perameters, their outlines and their beginnings and endings.  It’s instructive to look at etymology here:

rational (adj.) Look up rational at Dictionary.comlate 14c., “pertaining to reason;” mid-15c., “endowed with reason,” from Old French racionel and directly from Latin rationalis “of or belonging to reason, reasonable,” from ratio (genitive rationis) “reckoning, calculation, reason” (see ratio).

ratio (n.) Look up ratio at Dictionary.com
1630s, “reason, rationale,” from Latin ratio “reckoning, numbering, calculation; business affair, procedure,” also “reason, reasoning, judgment, understanding,” from rat-, past participle stem of reri “to reckon, calculate,” also “think” (see reason (n.)). Mathematical sense “relationship between two numbers” is attested from 1650s.
reason (n.) Look up reason at Dictionary.com
c.1200, “intellectual faculty that adopts actions to ends,” also “statement in an argument, statement of explanation or justification,” from Anglo-French resoun, Old French raison “course; matter; subject; language, speech; thought, opinion,” from Latin rationem (nominative ratio) “reckoning, understanding, motive, cause,” from ratus, past participle of reri “to reckon, think,” from PIE root *re(i)- “to reason, count” (source of Old English rædan “to advise;” see read (v.)). Meaning “sanity; degree of intelligence that distinguishes men from brutes” is recorded from late 13c. Sense of “grounds for action, motive, cause of an event” is from c.1300. Middle English sense of “meaning, signification” (early 14c.) is in the phrase rhyme or reason. Phrase it stands to reason is from 1630s. Age of Reason “the Enlightenment” is first recorded 1794, as the title of Tom Paine’s book.

read (v.) Look up read at Dictionary.com

Old English rædan (West Saxon), redan (Anglian) “to advise, counsel, persuade; discuss, deliberate; rule, guide; arrange, equip; forebode; read, explain; learn by reading; put in order” (related to ræd, red “advice”), from Proto-Germanic *redan (cognates: Old Norse raða, Old Frisian reda, Dutch raden, Old High German ratan, German raten “to advise, counsel, guess”), from PIE root *re(i)- “to reason, count” (cognates: Sanskrit radh- “to succeed, accomplish,” Greek arithmos “number amount,” Old Church Slavonic raditi “to take thought, attend to,” Old Irish im-radim “to deliberate, consider”). Words from this root in most modern Germanic languages still mean “counsel, advise.”

While these conceptions are not negative, there is nonetheless a teleological bias within them, an accumulative accquisitive aspect that can be found in the distinction between have and have not, in mine and yours; the dualism of the ego is subtly present in its tendency towards identity – I am, That is.

As a method of  perceptual arrangement, the I as first identifier then relegates all other things to Not I. It’s unsurprising then that negative or apophatic, and positive or kataphatic theologies each limit themselves to one or the other types of description by listing  what God either is not, or is.

Such reckonings are the basis of monotheism and monism – teachings that the Kosmic Gnostic rejects as categorical errors, both in the literal and metaphorical sense. The Life-Principle of Soul is thus invaded by Spirit (nous, logos) which attempts to bind  both the individual’s soul, and the ensouled phenomena of the kosmos. Such bindings are cumulative and accquisitive. Spirit mercilessly arranges and orders our perception of vital kosmos into a discrete mappable form. It is is void, and nothing in and of itself – only perceivable through the actions and effects it has upon the world, the product and producer of an a-kosmic echo-chamber feeding greedily on the vital forces in order to continue a strange and counterfeit existence.

For this reason, one could suggest that Spirit can be seen in the image of the classically Gnostic Demiurge that denies the existence of the Pleroma, and claims it has created all things.

deny (v.) Look up deny at Dictionary.com
early 14c., from Old French denoiir “deny, repudiate, withhold,” from Latin denegare “to deny, reject, refuse” (source of Italian dinegarre, Spanish denegar), from de- “away” (see de-) + negare “refuse, say ‘no,’ ” from Old Latin nec “not,” from Italic base *nek- “not,” from PIE root *ne- “no, not” (see un-). Related: Denied; denying.

This attempted negation of Being and reduction of experience to solipsistic extensions and responses of ego can be visibly seen in what we may call the Kali Yuga, which has been de rigeur since the beginning of the so-called historical period. To posit a logocentric transcendence – that is to say a transcendence which is Other than what we are ensouled in as portions of a living kosmos, is to deny the life principle of the Soul.

“The primordial unity of body and soul not only extends to the human being or the organic world, but to all phenomena which constitute the kosmos. including space and time. The soul is the meaning of the body and the body is the manifestation of the soul. Deriving from this Gnosis is the experience of a total sacredness of the phenomenal world as ‘Ultimate Reality’. The ‘Ultimate Reality’ is not to be found BEYOND the phenomena in an abstract transcendent world or ‘Paradise’ but WITHIN the phenomena through their magical nimbus and aura.” – Beth, Ibid,  (Emphasis Mine)

Balderpyre2

Imagine then, dear reader, what generations of reduced and divided souls might feel. Imagine the sense of loss, the feeling of alienation and imprisonment which is laid upon them. Imagine the unrelenting glare of the searchlight that sweeps across the landscape seekeing out and paralysing those refuges that flee into the night, where strange things might exist beyond the lines of ratio and ledger, number and boundary. Imagine how ten thousand years of forgotten things might hold their breaths, risking a faint whispering susurrus to catch the attention of one who might pick their way through a forest, if they have ears to hear.

Or perhaps, even amidst the brightening buzz of fluroescent light, someone might taste something electric on their tongue, a half-remembered spark of lightning that leapt and danced amidst the thunder. They pause for a second, then go back to what they were doing – just one more dismissal in a lifetime of unknowing negation.

Or maybe they don’t. Maybe the pause stretches out, pregnant and full-bellied. Suddenly, they become aware of their breathing, the beating of their heart; they become aware that the light ebbs and flows a little, flickers in some way their eye never notices before. But that’s ridiculous, some part of them says, and so they laugh a little to ease the tension, suddenly perturbed by the sensation of the shirt upon their back, the way their feet suddenly announce their encasement in shoes; loudly and without restraint the voice of the body awakens to the fact that there is listening going on. Breath rasps suddenly, its quiescent rhythm released in favour of something new – or is it very old?

Don’t be ridiculous, says that part, that single tone of denial. Nothing important here.

But suddenly, your throat is dry.

You swallow, the need for it is called up without thinking. The light hums a song, its flicker echoing and answering your pulse, the same thing you didn’t feel a moment ago. Momements on moments, again and again as new things arise in the sphere of your perception. First a trickle, then an onrush, a cavalcade, inside and out, thoughts, wonderings, echoes.

A choice then, to dismiss this, or to breathe and be and feel and know. Which would you take, as the tides turn, and the waves begin to swell and crest?

For this is a different kind of consciousness, or at the very least its threshold. The threshold of Night-conscousness, of the fluidity of dream and fire and heat and blood and ice and earth. A million gods and spirits, ten thousand thousand manifold possibilities; the very air could quiver with it, wieaving and pluming itself into your very breath. Before you, and in you; most immediate and most wondrous – here lies the Kosmos unveiled, shyly at first like a new lover, then soon after, all engulfing with feral intensity.

That denial still cries out, but it is met and matched and echoed in the mutual empowerment of soul. Even that most divisive of spirits is pepeered with fiery kisses, and entwined by cool limbs, pressed into silence by a desire that pours itself out and fills its ever hungry throat.

When and how does this occur? When does the isolation of Kaivalya become as the way “[A]n explorer who sets foot onto unknown territory becomes isolated by the experience of total novelty and strangeness, an alienation of wonder and astonishment”?

More in Part 2.